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"Genetics is failing on diversity, and that’s especially true in psychiatric genetics. While all humans are genetically very similar, there is actually quite a lot of variance between populations—and Africa has the most genetic diversity in the world."
Rocky Stroud II G'17, a graduate of Emmanuel's Master of Science in Management program with a specialization in research administration, is overseeing field operations in Africa (namely Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda) for the Broad Institute's NeuroGAP-P (Neuropsychiatric Genetics of African Population-Psychosis) initiative.
A 2012 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Stroud has worked at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) since 2015, currently as assistant director of research operations. He recently participated in the Broad Institute's #WhyIScience Q&A, speaking about how community service in the mental health field—and a chance encounter with Karestan Koenen, professor of psychiatric epidemiology at HSPH—led to his current role with NeuroGAP-P, where he is helping to lead the largest psychiatric genetics study ever conducted in Africa.
The Broad Institute, which spans some of Boston's leading institutions (Harvard, MIT, and Harvard-affiliated hospitals) was founded to seize the opportunity that arose from the Human Genome Project. According to the Broad Institute website, "NeuroGAP-P endeavors to broaden our understanding of the genetic factors that contribute to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This genome-wide association study (GWAS) is being carried out in partnership with five academic and research institutions in south and east Africa."